Pehla introduces new technology
Manama, May 15, 2012
Asian satellite broadcaster Pehla has introduced a new technology in a bid to eliminate illegal broadcasts of its channels in Bahrain.
It has started broadcasting in MPEG4 format which could eradicate piracy in the country, said Pehla's Bahrain distributor Satlink general manager Om Ramchandani.
It comes a year after the company pulled the plug on hundreds of illegal Dreambox users who had their premium Asian entertainment channels cut off after it switched to the state-of-the-art Viaccess technology.
"This is also prelude to the gradual introduction of high definition and 3D channels in the near future," Ramchandani told the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
"Steps are being put in place for more channels and bouquets to be offered to subscribers by the end of the year. We have had a lot of success in taking Pehla channels off Dreambox over the last several months," he said.
"We are now confident our channels will not be taken for illegal distribution by Dreambox providers.
"The MPEG4 transmission is already being used in several other parts of the world and means better, clearer and crisper video and sound quality."
Subscribers have already been contacted on steps they should take to retune their Viaccess receivers, said Ramchandani.
"Transmission on the new technology began on Sunday and customers are already experiencing an enhanced viewing experience," he added.
The Viaccess technology was introduced in February last year to stop Dreambox operators accessing Pehla signals illegally and then distributing them to thousands of subscribers all over Bahrain.
Orbit Showtime Network had switched to the new technology in December 2010 after which it reported a 300 per cent increase in subscribers.
Meanwhile, providers of illegal Dreambox services in Bahrain yesterday admitted they were quickly losing customers. One operator in Sanad said he only had a few subscribers left, who were paying to watch regional sports channels and a few satellite services from Europe.
Dreambox operators had built up a large subscriber base by linking digital receivers to the Internet, downloading codes and unscrambling satellite signals to provide customers with a range of satellite packages at a fraction of the normal cost.
The first crackdown on such operators in Bahrain was launched in 2009 when the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in collaboration with the then Culture and Information Ministry instructed the country's Internet service providers to block IP (Internet protocol) addresses of illegal operators. - TradeArabia News Service